Spend less… see more… Why pay full price when there are tons of cheaper options? There are tons of discount cards out there just waiting to save you money. But, hey, if you like wasting money then you don’t need them. For those of us that are on a budget, here’s a quick run down of typical discount cards…

Student & Youth Cards
It’s amazing how many discounts are out there for students. It’s more than worth it to take along a few of these cards. If you’re not a student but are under age 26, you can get a youth card that has many similar discounts. In many cases you can get these discounts just by showing your university card, however some places will require an internationally recognized cards such as ISE or ISIC.

Both organizations publish a list of available discounts. Virtually all establishments that grant discounts will honor the discount for either card even if it isn’t listed in the card’s discount guide.

One thing to keep in mind though – some places will only grant concession rates if you are enrolled in a local school.

ISE Card
The International Student Exchange (ISE) card is a good option with loads of discounts. Although this card is not as established as the ISIC, many establishments that give discounts to the ISIC will also provide the same discounts to ISE cardholders. The ISE card costs US$25 and you can order it online…

The International Student Travel Confederation produces three discount cards that give discounts to students and teachers of any age as well as travelers aged under 26. These are the most popular cards out there and the most widely recognized. The three cards – ISIC, IYTC and ITIC – cost US$22 or UK7 and are valid for one year.

If you are no longer a student, the International Youth Travel Card (IYTC)is a discount card for travelers aged under 26. While it’s not as good as a student card, you still get a wide range of discounts.

Full time teachers are eligible for the International Teacher Identity Card (ITIC) and qualify for many of the discounts offered with the other cards.

The benefits of these cards range from travel insurance, domestic and international discounts on everything from airline tickets to museums to pubs and even hotels. Your best bet is to check outwww.myisic.com for all the details.

Some travel agents, such as STA Travel, require that you have some form of ISTC card if you want to purchase an air ticket thru them. It doesn’t hurt to have a student card and if you’re gonna buy only one, this is the one to get.

Hostel Cards
These cards are issued by the different hostelling organizations and will save you money on transport and accomodation. The most popular is YHA or Hostelling International, as it is accepted at over 5000 different hostels. There are also independent hostelling organizations in each country that offer discount cards.

The Nomads travel card offers over 600 discounts in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. Transport discounts include 10% off McCafferty’s/Greyhound buses, 5% off Oz Experience and the Wayward bus and discounts on trains operated by Great Southern Railway. While the network is a bit limited, some of our favorite hostels were Nomads. The Nomads card costs $29 and is available from Nomads hostels and the Nomads website.

Hundreds of hostels in Australia, New Zealand and other countries give discounts to VIP card holders. Most of the hostels give a $1 discount per night. The card also has excellent transport discounts such as 10%-15% discounts off McCafferty’s/Greyhound buses, trains operated by Great Southern Railway and rental cars. A VIP card costs A$38.50 for one year or A$50 for two years. See the VIP website for more information.

YHA (Hostelling International)
As we said, the YHA card is the most popular with travlers are there are over 5000 hostels in 60 countries that accept it. In most cases, YHA hostels will only take the YHA card, whereas independent hostels will extend their discounts. This hostel card allows the biggest accommodation discounts with savings of around $3.50 per night.

YHA cards are available through many student travel agencies as well as at YHA offices and hostels and costs US$25/13. The YHA card also has good discounts on transport including discounts on car rental, bus and train travel.